With distracted driving now reaching epidemic levels, would people be less inclined to be distracted if they drove something more than just an appliance on wheels — something more fun and exciting? Mazda for one seems to think so.
The Japanese automaker plans to counter the wave of automotive technology that’s seemingly making drivers less engaged with a novel new system that monitors the level of driving engagement and rewards you for it.
Mazda on Jan 2, 2018, showing an in-car system that monitors the driver’s engagement with the act of driving, measuring such things as how much they are looking away from the road, fiddling with accessories, and delays in pedal switching. There is nothing new about senors in a car, but the way the company is using them is truly innovative.
Cars equipped with the system will not only log the driver’s engagement level, but also the road’s characteristics, guiding them to roads that have more engaging features.
Is there a better win-win situation than increasing road safety while subtilely coaxing drivers to enjoy their cars more? Let’s hope the system works as intended and sells many cars for Mazda.
Mazda Says Its Next Gas Engines Have Lower Emissions Than An EV
Mazda has boldly claimed that its third-generation Skyactiv gas engine technology will have lower “well-to-wheel” emissions than an electric vehicle.
While most automakers shift gears from the internal combustion engine (ICE) to hybrid and full-electric powertrains, Mazda is steadfast in its pursuit of perfecting the age-old g-burner, which it believes still has a lot of untapped potential. With development of the company’s second-generation Skyactiv-X technology now complete and slated to arrive on the market in 2019, engineers have been tasked with maximizing thermal efficiency of ‘Skyactiv-3’, the next generation of gasoline engines.
Mazda powertrain chief Mitsuo Hitomi revealed at an automotive technical conference in Tokyo that the Skyactiv-3 engines are expected to deliver unprecedented thermal efficiency levels of up to 56 percent — a 27-percent improvement over their predecessors — as well as lower emissions than pure battery-powered electric vehicles.
According to , which broke the story, the company’s study considers carbon-dioxide emissions from natural-gas powerplants used to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles and the emissions from oil extraction and refining, so it’s not exactly and apples-to-apples comparison.
Even so, up to 56 percent in thermal efficiency and the associated reduction in emissions would be impressive feats of engineering if achieved.
Mazda has been the leader in overall fleet efficiency for five consecutive years despite not following the mainstream shift towards full electrification.
Mazda Is Most Fuel Efficient Brand For Five Straight Years
Mazda, the relentless little automaker that could, has been named the most fuel efficient automaker in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Light Duty Fuel Economy Trends Report yet again, the fifth year in a row it’s been awarded the title.
It must be noted that the EPA’s report, which is essentially a summary of an automaker’s fleet-wide average fuel economy for a particular model year, runs a year behind, so the 2017 focuses on the 2016 model year.
Mazda topped all other automakers with an adjusted average fuel economy of 29.6 miles per gallon, a 0.4 mpg improvement over the previous model year. Hyundai came in second with 28.8 mpg, followed by Honda (28.2 mpg), Subaru (28.1 mpg) and Nissan (27.9 mpg), respectively.
Unsurprisingly, brands strongly dependent on truck sales, notably the Big Three american automakers, feared the worst, with Fiat Chrysler taking the bottom spot with an average fuel economy of 21.8 mpg. General Motors (22.2 mpg) and Ford (22.8 mpg) weren’t far behind.
The EPA hasn’t completed its findings for the 2017 model year, but it expects Mazda to lose its top spot. It predicts Honda’s average fuel economy will likely climb to 29.5 mpg and Mazda’s to drop to 29.3 mpg.
Mazda Ends Partnership With Laguna Seca
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is no more! After 17 years as the title sponsor, Mazda has decided to end its naming rights agreement with the Laguna Seca race facility, effective April 1, 2018.
Mazda didn’t provide a reason for why it decided to end the partnership, but said it remains active in motorsports and will continue racing at the race track. All other racing programs with Mazda sponsorship will not be affected.
A company press statement stated:
“We will continue to participate in key event weekends, as racing is a part of our DNA. The relationship between Mazda, the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) and the County of Monterey has been a wonderful one, and this decision was not reached easily. We wish the facility, the management team and the millions of fans who love the track as much as we do many more successful racing laps into the future.”
Dating back to 1957, the scenic, 2.2-mile road course features 11 turns, including the infamous Corkscrew — a diving left-right combination with a blind entrance and a 60-foot drop that’s believed to be the most challenging corner in the world.
It will once again be simply called ‘Laguna Seca’, no prefix or suffix.